Luxury Car Repair Training Comes to Butler Community College

El Dorado, Kan. – The premiere car maker, Volvo, and Butler Community College officially collaborated in August in an effort to strengthen the auto mechanic workforce and develop a pipeline for the car company. The agreement was made possible in part by Eddy’s Volvo Cars of Wichita, serving as the sponsoring dealership, and Volvo’s Car University Program designed to embed Volvo system technology into top accredited auto tech programs in the country.

The new 2019 Volvo S60 will be available to Butler students for class practice. The car is a part of the hands-on approach in the new Volvo’s Car University Program curriculum.  (Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Group Global Newsroom)

Volvo Cars issued this statement, “Volvo Car University supports local Volvo retailers in developing the next generation of technicians by facilitating training, tools and vehicle availability at local colleges and educational institutions.”

Butler Community College is proud to be one of the first collegiate Volvo Training programs in the country. Butler’s faculty will be trained in the latest Volvo technologies, and Butler’s auto tech students will have hands-on access to training from Butler faculty for the premiere technology within Volvo cars. The Volvo curriculum, to be launched this fall and embedded into the existing curriculum, will become standard for all auto tech students at Butler.

All the tools and resources for training purposes will be provided by Eddy’s Volvo Cars of Wichita. The dealership’s Service and Parts Director, Todd Truitt, headed the program and will meet regularly with Mark Jaye, Butler’s auto tech lead instructor, to stay updated on information and training throughout the program’s duration.

“I’m excited about a new partnership with a local community college, and hope it can better equip students interested in the field with a more realistic idea of what they will be facing on a day to day basis,” said Truitt.

The access to the Volvo curriculum and technology enhances the program by broadening student knowledge of luxury cars; knowledge which is typically only accessible through private training facilities. Butler’s Auto Tech Program is located in El Dorado and is certified by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF).

Those interested in Butler’s Auto Tech Program can contact program lead, Mark Jaye, at 316.322.3257or


City Commission

At the El Dorado City Commission meeting Monday night, the consent agenda was approved (4-0) with Commissioner Badwey absent. On the consent agenda was the following items:

  1. Approval of City Commission Minutes from June 3, 2019 and City Commission Special
  2. Minutes from May, 15, 28 and 29, 2019.
  3. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance No. 06-19 in the amount of $4,260,102.71.
  4. Temporary Beer License for BCC at Drums Across Kansas.

Items of business brought before the commission began with Brian Minnis, Chief Development Officer of GreatLIFE Golf and Fitness.  He appeared before the Commission to answer questions regarding the lease and transaction process with the golf course. There is a delay with finalizing the transaction due to one of the five partners retiring and divesting his investment in the company.  The Commission approved the execution of the Prairie Trails Lease Agreement 4-0

Jay Shivers from the Engineering Department presented the Special Use Permit (SUP) application for the expansion of Deer Grove RV Park onto 2.3 acres at 2953 SE Highway 54.  A SUP allows specific uses to take place on a property. The zoning ordinance allows campgrounds with a SUP on this property, which is zoned Manufactured Home Park Residential District. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on May 30th, 2019, to review the application and they voted to unanimously recommend approval of the application.  Conditions may be placed on the SUP .

The current zoning district allows single-family residential and manufactured home parks. The SUP was  approved with condition of a 6 foot privacy fence to limit the impact of the special use. It was approved 4-0.

The City of El Dorado requested bids for the rehabilitation and sealing of runway 4/22 at the Captain Jack Thomas Memorial Airport.  The lowest and best bid was determined to be from Pearson Construction at $236,311.38. The City has requested assistance from the FAA and has been granted funding in the amount of 90% of the project. The cost to the City will be $36,100 which has been budgeted in the airport fund.

The Commission authorized the City Manager to execute the contract with the FAA and upon concurrence from them, award the contract to Pearson Construction for the Runway 4/22 project, 4-0.

In an effort to address dangerous and unfit structures, staff has determined from our unsafe-unfit structures list, 5 homes that an ultimate resolution needs to be addressed. Those homes are:

1107 W Carr; 1108 W Carr; 426 W 7th; 802 S Taylor; and 205 N Washington.

Chapter 15.16 of El Dorado Municipal Code sets forth the avenue to rectify the ongoing issues with these structures.  If the owner of the property is unable to cause a structure to be razed the City Commission is the ultimate entity responsible for demolition cost. A special assessment would be placed on the property in hopes of recovering the cost.  The Commission authorized (4-0) the scheduling of a public hearing on August 19, 2019 at 6:30 for the purpose of abating or removing the dangerous structures at 1107 W Carr, 1108 W Carr, 426 W 7th, 802 S Taylor and 205 N Washington.

A public hearing was held for the purpose of considering an application to be submitted to the Kansas Department of Commerce for Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds under the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation category.

The project considered for the grant is for the rehabilitation of the building located 142 North Main Street El Dorado, Kansas at the corner of North Main Street and West 1st Street. The proposed rehabilitation project will consist of installing a perimeter drain system inside the building, demolition of roof down to concrete roof slab, install new roof drains with overflow drains, R-30 insulation, TPO roof membrane and fire suppression system. The estimated project cost is $330,600.00, with the grant request for $247,950.00 of the project cost and a local match of $82,650.00.

Under previous ownership, maintenance of the property was neglected resulting in a failed roof and extensive water damage throughout the building. In April of this year, the building was purchased by Nathan and Nicole Ensminger with the intent to bring the building up to code and rehabilitate the interior for occupancy of multiple tenants on the first and second floors. As an anchor building in the core of downtown El Dorado, the property is eligible for Community Development Block Grant funding under the current 2019 Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation program.  Costs for the administration of the grant will be paid from grant proceeds.

The Commissioning approved the declaration of the building as blighted, with respect to the Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program. The Resolution certifying legal authority to apply for the 2019 Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program from the Kansas Department of Commerce was approved, 4-0.  Additionally, the Commission directed City Manager, David Dillner to execute a contract with South Central Kansas Economic Development District (SCKEDD) for administrative services for the Community Development Block Grant, 4-0.

Kurt Bookout, Director of Public Utilities, appeared to present bids for the Prairie Trails Pump Station.  No bids were received for the project. City staff contacted Electrical Systems, Inc. (ESI) of Wichita, and requested a bid which they submitted a bid in June for the project.  The purpose of the project is to increase the operational flexibility and efficiency of the Booster Pump Station by adding a jockey pump, by-pass piping and valves, pump VFD and controls.  The addition of these items to the station will decrease electrical costs significantly. The bid received was for $55,000 with a discount provided of $5,500, so the actual project cost will be $49,500. The project was budgeted and the water fund is anticipated to fall within their targeted cash range this year.

The Commission voted (4-0) to direct the City Manager to execute the contract with ESI for the Prairie Trails Pump Station.


Experienced Singer, Speaker to Present on Western, Great Plains Folk Life

Butler Community College’s Life Enrichment will feature Jeff Davidson at 9 a.m. and Jim Hoy at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7.

Jim Hoy, Emporia State University English professor, has lectured internationally about the Great Plains and folk life. He is the co-author of “Plains Folk,” a syndicated newspaper column.

Using songs, historical facts and pictures, Davidson leads audiences through the history of the settlement of the west, with particular emphasis on the state of Kansas. The development of Kansas had a tremendous influence on western settlement, helping to shape the economy, ideology and heroism of a young nation. Davidson entertained as part of the Flint Hills Overland Wagon Train for 25 years where he developed the idea of using historical events to introduce songs he sang. He uses a combination of classic western and folk tunes along with his own compositions to highlight the significant historical events that led Kansas into statehood.

An authority on the folk life of ranching, Hoy is a professor of English and former director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University. He has lectured internationally on the folk life of ranching and is the co-author of “Plains Folk,” a syndicated newspaper column. 

Most Kansans are familiar with stories of grasshoppers large enough for cowboys to ride, or summers that popped corn in the field due to the heat. Kansas is a place of big skies and tall tales, but these exaggerated narratives help explain the character of our state and its people. Hoy’s presentation will explore some of the countless legends and folktales from around the state, and how they define the communities that keep these stories alive.

“Kansas Legends and Folktales” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share inspiring stories, spark informative conversations and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

Life Enrichment meets on the first Tuesday morning of the month during the school year. Area adults enjoy high-quality speakers and performers, along with a light breakfast and coffee during each regular meeting. Meetings take place in the Clifford/Stone Community Room at the Hubbard Welcome Center on the El Dorado campus. Meetings are open to everyone and there is no charge to attend. Those who attend regularly are encouraged to register so they receive monthly newsletters announcing the programs. New members are always welcome.

For more information about Life Enrichment or the May 7 program, please contact Trisha Walls at 316-218-6355 or

Butler County | City & School Elections 2019

In this week’s podcast episode, we spoke to Butler County Clerk Tatum Stafford regarding the filing deadline for the upcoming elections.  

Among the city and school position openings include Mayor for Andover, Augusta, El Dorado, Latham, Leon, and Potwin.  Most notable is the fact that no one has yet filed for the Butler Community College Board of Trustees.  

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Butler Community College. The Board delegates authority to the President of the college subject to Board approval over all personnel, educational, financial and business matters pertaining to the operation of the college.

See the complete list of City and School Positions


Students Able to Obtain Associate Degree in Seven Months

Butler Community College Interactive 3D Technologies Boot Camp to Launch This Summer

In response to the public’s demand of gaining employment quickly, Butler Community College will birth its Interactive 3D Technologies Boot Camp this June. For those wanting a career in the multimedia industry, Butler has opened a path to obtain a degree in this field by the end of the year; however, a little elbow grease is required.

By completing an immersed-learning experience in a boot camp-styled course this summer, plus completing additional classes in the fall semester, students can walk out with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interactive, Digital and 3D Technology before Christmas.

Butler has offered its Interactive, Digital and 3D Technology (ID3D) degree for seven years. With the need for people to get into the workforce quickly, and taking into consideration the success of intensive programs in other regions of the country, Darryl Runyan, Butler Interactive, Digital & 3D Technology Department Chair, and his fellow instructors decided to see how this could appeal in the Midwest.

“With our pathway of Interactive, Digital and 3D Technology already being a great success, we will be striving to give the same quality one-on-one attention that will be necessary for students to excel. The small class size as well as the personal contact with our professors on a daily basis, means students will never be without support and help,” said Runyan.

He added, “All of our professors will be there on a daily basis, not only teaching, but mentoring and helping students to effectively prepare for their new career.”

Students enrolled in this program will attend classes 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Andover during June and July. Some online coursework is also included. After this period, they will finish in the Fall Semester with general education courses along with more digital classes, engaging in both first and second eight-week courses during this time. At completion, students will earn their specialized two-year degree in this limitless industry field.

Due to the time commitment, the program is designed for those who are recent high school graduates, workers in transition or those who have a financial support system during the summer months when they’re completing the bulk of the course. In addition, reliability and commitment will be a requirement. If students miss more than two days of classes, they can still finish their degree, but will no longer be on the fast track toward the December completion date.

As the only associate-degree centric program for ID3D in the area, students will be trained in the field of frame and simulation development; gain experience in Photoshop, 3D Studio Max and Unity Game Engine; and acquire skills in Virtual Reality, Stop Motion Animation, 3D Animation, Video and Audio Production. Butler will provide all computers, software and other equipment needed.

Job titles encompassing these skills include game designer, animator, 3D concept artist and video production, to name a few.

Space is limited in the program. Those interested should contact Darryl Runyan, 316.218.6132 or email to begin the application and enrollment process.

Annual fundraising auction exceeds goal for Foundation, scholarships

Nearly 350 guests attended Butler Community College Foundation’s 22nd Butler Benefit Auction. The evening’s theme, “Butleropoly,” lent a fun and festive air to the annual fundraising event.

Betsy and Scott Redler, 22nd Butler Benefit Auction honorary chairs.

Betsy and Scott Redler served as honorary chairs for the event. Scott, COO and co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, has had continued involvement with the culinary arts and hospitality management programs for nearly 25 years. In 2017, the Redlers established an endowed scholarship for a student in those academic programs.

“We were fortunate to have people support us along our journey toward our dream of restaurant ownership,” Betsy and Scott said in their message to attendees. “Now it’s our turn to help someone else achieve their dreams – that is the best reward for us.”

An extra special feature this year highlighted Butler’s renowned culinary arts and hospitality management programs, led by instructors Chef John Michael and Alexis Michael. Guests visited “properties” based on the Monopoly theme to taste hors d’oeuvres prepared and served by culinary arts’ Garde Manger classes. Each table had a theme: Boardwalk, Kentucky Avenue, Mediterranean Avenue, Oriental Avenue, and Pacific Avenue. Table displays and help with service was provided by hospitality management’s Event Planning classes.

“Interaction with our students means the donors are able to truly see the impact of their gifts,” said Mary Moon, executive director of community advancement and Butler Benefit Auction event director. “Providing a platform for the students to showcase their talent is very rewarding.”

Total funds raised topped out at $238,000. The evening featured silent, super silent, and live auctions, a dice roll game for drawing prizes, and a golden ticket drawing. With an ending bid of $8,000, the highest-selling item of the night was a live auction package of Kansas City Chiefs tickets that included Founder’s Club entry tickets and a gold parking pass for Arrowhead Stadium. The item was donated to the auction by Butler alumna Angela Hurt (’97), CEO of Veracity Consulting in Kansas City.

The second-highest selling item was an ‘Extraordinary Culinary Arts Dinner.’ The dinner, for 10 guests and hosted by the Redlers, will feature an array of small plates crafted by culinary students and paired with wines from the Redlers’ collection. The dinner sold for $7,500.

Laura Schneider, a fourth semester nursing student from Wichita, spoke to the attendees saying she never dreamed she would be going back to school as a non-traditional student working on a second career. Schneider will graduate from the nursing program in May and work in the cardiothoracic ICU at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.

Along with the culinary arts and hospitality management students, one dozen livestock judging students assisted throughout the event – from selling drawing tickets to working during the live auction. Theatre students assisted Mittlestadt Props & Design, owned by Butler alumnus Tom Mittlestadt, with décor and set up. The Noteables women’s barbershop quartet sang as guests arrived and assisted with the dice roll game. The Smorgaschords men’s barbershop quartet also sang and two members, Scott Slack and Sam Rinkenbaugh, emceed for the evening.

Growing up in EduCare from the time I was a toddler until I was in kindergarten was a big part of why I came to Butler,” said Rinkenbaugh, son of Bill Rinkenbaugh, vice president of student services. “As a freshman my experience has only affected me positively.”

Slack, a fire science student, lives in the fire house in El Dorado as part of the hands-on learning experience that program provides.

“With your help I was given the opportunity to become a part-time firefighter for the city of El Dorado,” Slack said. “I cannot thank you enough for your generosity and passion and for helping students grow and obtain a better education.”

Top sponsors for the evening were:  HollyFrontier, Bank of America, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, BG Products, Commerce Bank, IMA, Professional Engineering Consultants and BKD.

Butler County Spelling Bee

The Welcome Center at Butler Community College was abuzz with nervous excitement as the large meeting room filled with students, parents, teachers, and administrators representing 28 schools from across Butler County.

Each student was selected as a representative to the Butler County Spelling Bee after winning their school-wide Spelling Bee.

First up was a practice round which gave the spellers an opportunity to calm their nerves and let parents take photos before the competition officially began.  Students were allowed a piece of paper and writing instrument in order to spell check the old-fashioned way. Upon successfully spelling a word, a student would hear “Right!”  When a word was spelled incorrectly, a bell would ring alerting the student to leave the competition floor and take a seat in the audience with their parent or teacher.

Calculus. Cooperage. Guava. Suffocate. Hibiscus

Words were pronounced, parts of speech and etymology were given, as well as a definition, and the word was used in a sentence if the student requested.  

After an hour, three rounds of spelling words and a brief intermission, less than a dozen students remained in the contest.    Cliques, accompany, apprehend, barbarous, rivulets, haberdashery, and portentously were some of the words spelled incorrectly.

As the rounds continued, the words increased in difficulty.  

Pegasi. Catacombs. Munificent. Eviscerated. Ambuscade. Balaclavas. Millefeuille. Phaeton. Marengo. Homonym. Seersucker.

By the eighth round, three spellers remained, #3, Jeremiah Rather, #9, Grace Schmidt and #13, Kareena Bhaktn.   All three spelled their words correctly until the eleventh round when Grace Schmidt of Circle Middle School misspelled “stipple” and was awarded Second Runner-Up.

Nine more rounds of correctly spelled words. Then, in the twenty-first round, Kareena Bhaktn, El Dorado Middle School student misspelled “wainscot” and opening the door for Jeremiah Rather to win the Spelling Bee with the correct spelling of “poinsettia.”  Kareena was awarded First Runner-Up

Jeremiah said he practiced spelling every night for 20 minutes.  He will represent Butler County at the Sunflower Spelling Bee on March 9 at Newman University. The Sunflower Spelling Bee is hosted by The Kansas Press Association. The winner of the Sunflower Spelling Bee qualifies for participation in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

This was the eleventh year for Butler Community College to sponsor the county-wide spelling bee that is conducted by library services at Butler Community College.